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Title: Exploiting the Brachypodium Tool Box in cereal and grass research

item MUR, LUIS - Aberystwyth University
item ALLAINGUILLAUME, JOEL - Aberystwyth University
item CATALAN, PILAR - University Of Zaragoza
item HASATEROK, ROBERT - University Of Silesia
item JENKINS, GLYNN - Aberystwyth University
item LESNIEWSKI, KAROLINA - University Of Silesia
item THOMAS, IANTO - Aberystwyth University
item Vogel, John

Submitted to: New Phytologist
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/8/2011
Publication Date: 5/31/2011
Citation: Mur, L., Allainguillaume, J., Catalan, P., Hasaterok, R., Jenkins, G., Lesniewski, K., Thomas, I., Vogel, J.P. 2011. Exploiting the Brachypodium tool box in cereal and grass research. New Phytologist. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03748.x.

Interpretive Summary: This manuscript describes recent advances in developing experimental resources and techniques to allow the small annual grass Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) to be used as a model system. Due to its short generation time, small size and ease of cultivation Brachypodium can be used to conduct experiments that would be too expensive or impossible to conduct in grass crops like wheat and switchgrass.

Technical Abstract: It is now a decade since Brachypodium distachyon was suggested as a model species for temperate grasses and cereals. Since then transformation protocols, large expressed sequence tag (EST) populations, tools for forward and reverse genetic screens, highly refined cytogenetic probes, germplasm collections and recently, a complete genome sequence have been generated. In this review we will describe the current status of the Brachypodium (Brachy) Tool Box and how it is beginning to be applied to study a range of biological traits. At the same time, the development of next generation sequencing platforms is facilitating well the genomic analysis of larger genome cereals and forage grasses so we will re-evaluate Brachypodium as a model species. We suggest that there remains an urgent need to employ reverse genetic and functional genomic approaches to identify the functionality of key genetic elements which could be employed subsequently in plant breeding programmes. Brachypodium has easy growth requirements, small physical stature, and rapid seed-to-seed life cycle which coupled with the resources offered by the Brachy Tool Box, make this species ideally suited as a model for such studies.